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Singapore, Malaysia Discuss Cuts to Mobile Roaming Charges

Singapore and Malaysia will study ways to cut mobile roaming charges for users travelling between the two countries, according to a joint statement released by regulators on Tuesday.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission have asked local mobile operators for feedback on a proposal to "progressively reduce" roaming charges. The plan seeks to cut roaming charges for voice calls by 30 percent and lower roaming charges for SMS messages by 50 percent, the statement said.

The statement made no mention of plans to cut roaming charges for data access.

Located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore was part of Malaysia when the former British colony became independent in 1963, but the two separated in 1965. While government relations between the two countries have had their ups and downs over the years, personal and commercial ties between people on both sides of the border remained strong. As a result, many Singaporeans and Malaysians travel frequently between the two countries and would benefit from lower roaming costs.

"With increased tourism and private and business travels between Singapore and Malaysia, and the rising penetration rate of mobile telephony in both countries, it is reasonable to expect mobile roaming traffic in both countries to grow in the future," the statement said.

It isn't clear when Singaporean and Malaysian users can expect to see lower roaming charges when traveling between the two countries. The joint statement offered no timetable for when roaming charges would be cut, saying only that the Malaysian and Singaporean regulators will offer an update on their plans during the third quarter of this year.

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